Lockheed Martin to build new test tower, keep Akron jobs

July 08, 2009

Akron City Council authorized a conditional use for long-time Akron aerospace company Lockheed Martin to construct a 97-foot optical test tower to conduct laser and sensor testing for defense industry applications from its property on George Washington Boulevard.

The company had previously used the Federal Aviation Administration control tower nearby, but wants space to conduct broader activities and to attract larger commercial programs, explained one of the company's senior engineering managers during the first of four public hearings held Monday night.

Economic Development and Job Creation Committee Chair Terry Albanese (W-6) said her committee agreed with the company's proposed use for the new tower site, and that it would pose no undue harm to the surrounding neighborhood.

"The FAA tower is obsolete and overcrowded for the research they'd like to do," Albanese said. "The proposed tower is 340 feet from a residential area and the testing is intermittent, so it will present no impact on the surrounding traffic or neighborhood. It also keeps jobs in Akron."

The company spokesperson said anywhere from six to 10 employees perform intermittent testing operations from the tower.